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Conn. port hosts a Nordic Tugs Event

Annual summer gathering of owners on the Connecticut River draws a record 21 boats and 120 attendees

Annual summer gathering of owners on the Connecticut River draws a record 21 boats and 120 attendees

Nordic Tugs owners from all along the East Coast converged on Essex, Conn., to attend the sixth annual Northeast Nordic Tugs Rendezvous, July 27 to 29.

The rendezvous, held at Essex Island Marina, drew 21 boats for its full duration, with more than two dozen taking part in the tug parade that caps each year’s event. It also attracted 120 attendees.

“It’s more than we’ve ever had,” says Ruth Jansson of Norwalk, Conn., commodore of host club, the Northeast Nordic Tug Owners’ Association. She says the number is especially impressive considering 14 boats that attended last year couldn’t make it this year. “To a person, they all said, ‘Don’t count us out next year.’ ”

This year’s schedule included seminars, boat hopping, cocktail parties, a lobster and steak dinner, and the annual parade and raft-up in Hamburg Cove. The seminars and hands-on workshops offered advice from electronics and propeller experts; an outboard guru to talk about dinghy engines; representatives from Nordic Tugs; six representatives from diesel engine maker Cummins; and NENTOA vice commodore Jim McCrea, who presented his “75 Tips & Tricks for Nordic Tuggers” seminar.

Nordic Tugs owners traveled by boat from as far as South Carolina and Virginia, and the special guests of the weekend were Southeast Nordic Tug Owner’s Association co-presidents Chip and Louise Worster, who traveled from Satellite Beach, Fla., by car.

Columbia, S.C., residents Lee and Dee Barber cruised from Beaufort, S.C., to Essex aboard their Nordic Tugs 37, Aerie. The trip took about six weeks and included stops in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Manhattan, says Dee Barber.

“We just stopped and played, and we’ll play all the way home,” says Barber, who is 63. “We’ll always come to this one — we just love the people up here, so we’ll be back next summer.”

The nurse practitioner, whose husband was busy researching whether they could add more air conditioning and an additional inverter, says the rendezvous offers fun, education and excellent cruising grounds.

“Not only do we have a lot of fun, we learn an amazing amount,” says Barber, adding that she and her husband explore rivers in their local cruising grounds. “And it’s breathtakingly beautiful up here.”

Jeff and Mindy Gordon are enjoying their second season — and second rendezvous — aboard their Nordic Tugs 37. The couple from Farmington, Conn., also took advantage of an organized cruise earlier in the summer with Essex-based Nordic Tugs dealer, Wilde Yacht Sales.

“My wife and I are new to boating,” says Gordon, a 52-year-old retired software developer. “For us it was like a boot camp.” The 17-day cruise started in Essex and visited Block Island, R.I., and Cuttyhunk, Edgartown, Nantucket Island, Chatham and Hyannis, Mass.

At the rendezvous, Gordon says he gets a lot out of the seminars and from talking to other owners about their boats and the trips they have taken.

Attendees were treated to cruising presentations on the opening night of the rendezvous, including a movie segment from NENTOA commodore Jansson and cruising partner Bette Conner. It detailed their 2005 cruise from Norwalk to Canada’s Rideau Canal.

After the close of the rendezvous, several owners embarked on a group cruise across Long Island Sound to the estuary’s namesake.